From: judith monteiro <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Subject: Joint Letter from Christian Community groups expressing hurt & objection to cancellation of 2 Christmas holidays
To: R R Bhise (EO)
While we appreciate the sentiments behind the decision to declare the same & are happy for our Hindu brethren, WE, Catholic community groups – Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), Catholics for Preservation of Faith (CPF) & Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF) would like to express our hurt at the decision of the Education dept to adjust the same against the Christmas Vacation.
In a statement issued in a publication (TOI) you have been quoted as saying “We haven’t declared new holidays but adjusted 2 holidays from the Christmas vacation, December 23 & 31”. This is a gross injustice to the Catholic-Christian Community & to our Institutions at large at the same time it appears to be an unjust targeting of a minority community
We feel betrayed by the dept. It is sad that the Education dept which is supposed to set an example of equality, justice, etc in the young minds is not only being unfair but setting an open example of disparity. We fail to understand how the Dept can bring happiness to one community while depriving another. The Catholic-Christian community is also an integral part of Mumbai & India & while the pledge in our schools claims “all Indians are my brothers & sisters”, we feel the department is giving our Community the step-child treatment.
We fail to understand the need to cancel the holidays from the Christmas vacation list. If the dept is increasing the holidays this weekend, surely the dept could have left it to the wisdom of the school authorities to adjust the working days at their discretion. Perhaps they can adjust against their weekly holiday? Besides, is the Education Department going to be ruled & dictated to by Political Parties, immaterial of which one it is? Today, it is one, tomorrow another. Do the School authorities not have a say in the matter of the running of their schools?
We would like you to consider the foll:
· Most of the ABE schools are in the premises of the respective Church, as Christmas service is on 24th night, cancellation of 23rd dec holiday gives our Religious no time to concentrate on preparations for the Eucharistic celebration. Will your decision be fair
· India is rich in its family values & cultures, where festivals are celebrated with extended family members (grandparents/relatives). With Christmas service on 24th night & school on till the previous day, how will families be able to travel to celebrate the festival if required
· The injustice towards the sentiments of one community festival as against another
· The liturgical calendar of the catholic community celebrates 1st Jan as the Community New Year universally, will it be fair to cancel the31st dec holiday?
· Are Catholics-Christians in Mumbai not Mumbaikars? Then why is the community being targeted – just because it is a minority community?
Keeping the above in mind, We call upon your good office to reverse the cancellation of the Christmas vacation dates of 23 & 31 dec & to be fair to the Catholic Community & Catholic Institutions at large
We seek an Urgent appointment with your good office to discuss the issue as also other issues affecting our schools
On behalf of the Community groups
Secretary – AOCC
c.c. : Chief Minister, Maharashtra
Deputy Director of Education
Minorities Commission – Minister, President , Vice President
Archbishop of Mumbai